The bad weather we'd had in July continued into August. There was plenty of rain at the start of the month and it's been very mixed throughout. We Brits don't let that stop us though, we've enjoyed plenty of lovely days out this month.
Mick's first cricket match of the month was cancelled as there was a storm forecast. Not wanting to waste the day, we decided to have a drive out and settled on Haworth as our destination. We love this quaint Yorkshire village where the Bronte sisters lived between 1820 and 1861. There was some rain about but we managed to avoid the worst of the downpours and we ended up having a lovely day. The steep cobbled Main Street is lined with some lovely independent shops, my favourite being The Cabinet of Curiosities, the inside of which can be seen in the photo above. This was the old apothecary shop but it now sells hand made soaps, bath powders and curiosities. It's very rare that you find the shop as empty as it was on this day, it's usually jam packed but the rain seemed to have kept many people away from Haworth on this particular Saturday.
It was Mick's birthday on the 14th. He took a day off work, we'd decided beforehand that we'd have a trip out to Whitby. When we got up that morning it was pouring with rain but not to be deterred, we set off for the coast. Luckily, the rain stopped as we arrived and it managed to stay dry for the time we were there. The rain began again just as we were leaving. The North York Moors are stunning at this time of year with all the heather in flower but it was not shown off to its best with the rain and mist rolling in. You can just see RAF Fylingdales in the distance. This site monitors the world's airspace and provides a continuous ballistic missile early warning system to the UK and the US.
We were going to have a meal at a lovely pub we've visited before in Pickering but unfortunately, that wasn't to be. We hadn't booked as it's one of those places where you can just turn up but we discovered that they'd had to close the kitchens as they were short staffed due to illness. We ended up eating at a pub local to home. The birthday celebrations continued the following day when we had another lovely meal out, this time with family.
I've read three books this month.
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.
"Dickens's epic, exuberant novel is one of the greatest coming-of-age stories in literature. It chronicles David Copperfield's extraordinary journey through life, as he encounters villains, saviours, eccentrics and grotesques, including the wicked Mr Murdstone, stout-hearted Peggotty. formidable Betsey Trotwood, impecunious Micawber and odious Uriah Heep.
Dickens's great Bildungsroman - based, in part, on his own boyhood, and which he described as a 'favourite child' - is a work filled with life, both comic and tragic."
After finishing Les Miserables a couple of months ago, I hadn't intended embarking on another long novel again so soon but Charles Dickens is really calling to me after reading a few of his other books over the last year or so. Just shy of a thousand pages, David Copperfield isn't what you'd call a short story but I enjoyed it so much that the pages seemed to turn themselves.
The books I've read so far by Dickens contain some wonderful characters and David Copperfield is no exception. How I wanted the Murdstones to get their comeuppance, not to mention Uriah Heep. The less favourable characters were balanced out well with the likes of Peggotty and Agnes. This book introduces us to so many unforgettable characters, good and bad.
I loved Great Expectations when I read it last year but I think my enjoyment of David Copperfield exceeded even that. If you haven't read either of these books, what are you waiting for?
The Testimony of Alys Twist by Suzannah Dunn.
"Deeply divided England rejoices as Mary Tudor sweeps to power on a tide of populist goodwill. But the people should have been careful what they wished for: Mary's mission is to turn back time to an England of old. Within weeks, there is widespread rebellion in favour of her half-sister, princess Elizabeth, who is everything that Mary isn't.
Orphan Alys Twist has come a long way - further than she ever dared hope - to work as a laundress at the royal Wardrobe. There she meets Bel, daughter of the queen's tailor, and seems to have arrived at her own happy ending.
But in a world where appearance is everything, a laundress is in a unique position to see the truth of people's lives. Pressed into service as a spy in the errant princess's household, Alys herself must make a dangerous choice when the princess is arrested."
I've only begun to enjoy historical fiction in recent years and haven't read that many books in the genre. I enjoy the Tudor period so when I picked up this book, it called out to me. It started off well and though it did keep me wanting to turn the pages, my interest waned a little in the middle.
The idea behind the story was a good one, I just felt that more could have been made of it. The ending was rushed and the writing a little weak I'm sorry to say.